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Kentucky man allegedly tries to set Mary Todd Lincoln House on fire

Police car with lights. (Dreamstime/TNS)
June 21, 2023

A Kentucky man was recently apprehended after allegedly attempting to set fire to the childhood home of Mary Todd Lincoln, the wife of former President Abraham Lincoln. The incident prompted an immediate response from local authorities and historical preservation groups.

According to Fox56, the suspect, identified as Santosh Sharma, was taken into custody by law enforcement officials after they caught him pouring flammable liquid around the perimeter of the house before trying to ignite it.

The Mary Todd Lincoln House, a National Historic Landmark and a cherished part of American history, is a popular tourist attraction that draws visitors from all over the country. Built in the early 1800s, it was the childhood residence of Mary Todd Lincoln before she married Abraham Lincoln and became the First Lady of the United States.

“The White House years were difficult for Mary Lincoln. The pressures and anxieties of the Civil War were unrelenting. Mary watched her husband age under the strain. In early 1862, when their eleven-year-old son Willie died from typhoid fever, Mary was grief-stricken. He was the second of three Lincoln children who would die before adulthood. The heaviest blow fell on April 14, 1865, with Abraham Lincoln’s assassination,” the Mary Todd Lincoln House website states.

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“Mary survived her husband by seventeen years. During these years, she traveled internationally, fought for a widow’s pension, explored the practice of spiritualism, and continued to raise her youngest son Tad. Sadly, Tad died shortly after his eighteenth birthday in 1871,” it added. “Four years later, at the instigation of her only surviving child Robert, Mary was confined against her will for several months at an asylum in Batavia, Illinois. Mary Lincoln’s mental health continues to be debated by historians and is frequently the subject of pop culture references to the former first lady.”

After her institutionalization, Mary briefly lived in Europe before dying at her sister Elizabeth’s home in July 1882.

Authorities have not yet determined a motive for Sharma’s actions, but they believe the incident was isolated and not related to any larger threat. Sharma was taken into custody without resistance and has been charged with with menacing, second-degree criminal trespassing and second-degree attempted arson.

This news article was partially created with the assistance of artificial intelligence and edited and fact-checked by a human editor.